Category: S


The Silent Summons

A member of a certain Lodge, who previously attended meetings regularly, had stopped going. After a few months, the Worshipful Master decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening, and the Worshipful Master found his brother at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.

Guessing the reason for the Worshipful Master’s visit, the brother welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited. The Worshipful Master made himself comfortable, but said nothing.

In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After several minutes, the Worshipful Master took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth, all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent.

His host watched all of this in quiet contemplation. As the one, lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow, and its fire was no more. Soon, it was cold and dead.

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The Worshipful Master glanced at his watch and chose this time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember, and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately, it began to glow once more, with all the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the Worshipful Master reached the door to leave, his host said, with a tear running down his cheek, “Thank you so much for your fiery summons, my brother. I’ll be back in our Lodge next meeting.”

— Author Unknown

Solomon’s Jackal

Solomon’s Jackal

There was a time when King Solomon delivered some Masonic lectures that an old man attended, unseen by the craftsmen. At the end of each talk, when the craftsmen left, so did he. But one day he remained after they had gone, and Solomon asked him: “Who are you?”

The old man replied: “I am not a human being, but I was a human being when Enoch preached in this world. I was a craftsman and lived on this mountain. At that time one of my apprentices asked me whether the enlightened man is subject to the law of causation. I answered him: ‘The enlightened man is not subject to the law of causation.’ Because this answer evidenced a clinging to absoluteness, I became a jackal for five hundred rebirths, and I am still a jackal. Will you save me from this condition with your Masonic light and let me get out of a jackal’s body? So I ask you: Is the enlightened man subject to the law of causation?”

Solomon said: “The enlightened man is one with the law of causation.”

At the words of Solomon the old man was enlightened. “I am emancipated,” he said, paying homage with a deep bow. “I am no more a jackal, but I have to leave my body in my dwelling place behind this mountain. Please perform my funeral as a Mason.” Then he disappeared.

The next day Solomon gave an order for the craftsmen to prepare to attend the funeral of a brother. “No one was sick in the infirmary,” wondered the other craftsmen. “What does our master mean?”

Later that day Solomon led the craftsmen out and around the mountain. In a cave, with his staff he poked out the corpse of an old jackal and then performed the Masonic burial ceremony.

That evening Solomon gave a talk to the craftsmen and told this story about the law of causation.

King Hiram, upon hearing this story, asked Solomon: “I understand that a long time ago because a certain craftsman gave a wrong answer he became a jackal for five hundred rebirths. Now I would ask: If some modern craftsmen is asked many questions, and he always gives the right answer, what will become of him?”

Solomon said: “You come here near me and I will tell you.”

King Hiram went near Solomon and playfully slapped the master’s face with his hand, for he knew this was the answer Solomon intended to give him.

Solomon clapped his hands and laughed at the discernment. “I thought a Persian had a red beard,” he said, “and now I know a Persian who has a red beard!”

Stolen Treasure

Stolen Treasure

The Worshipful Master addressed a lodge of EAs, “Tell me why you were hoodwinked.”

The first EA stood and said, “So I couldn’t see the lodge and brethren until I had taken the obligation.”

The Master said, “That is true, and is certainly something that any dutiful EA should know. But if Masonry is a system of allegories, what else might be a meaning of being hoodwinked?”

Another EA replied, “Without sight we were forced to rely upon our ears, so this teaches us to always listen carefully.”

“That is a good lesson indeed, and one might think you had just stepped out of the Middle Chamber. Is there anything else?”

A third EA said, “We are all blind in one way or another, yet one is strong where another is weak. Thus through brotherly love we help, aid and assist each other.”

The Master smiled. “Very good. You are only an apprentice, and yet you hold the trowel like a master. What else can be said of being hoodwinked?”

A fourth EA answered, “When hoodwinked we see nothing, yet we see everything. The light of the mind flashes, and movement and forms appear in the void of pure awareness.” Then he looked at his companions and grinned.

The Worshipful Master shook his head. “For a moment you played with the jewel of Grand Master Hiram Abif, but a thief has stolen what should have been treasured.”

The Smooth and Easy Road

Just before one of his favorite old foresters passed away, King Hiram of Tyre visited him. King Hiram asked “Shall I lead you on?”

The forester replied: “Your majesty, I came into this world alone and shall leave alone. What help could you be to me as I travel to that bourne from which no man returns?”

King Hiram answered: “If you think you really come and go, you are mistaken. Let me show you the smooth and easy road on which there is no coming and no going.”

With his words, King Hiram had revealed the light so clearly that the old forester released his last breath with a serene smile.

Self-Defense?

Self-Defense?

Peter Gower would ask the newly raised Master Masons, “Why didn’t Hiram Abif defend himself?”

The Stone Cutter

There once was a stone cutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life. One day he passed a wealthy merchant’s house. Through the open gateway he saw many fine possessions and important visitors. “How wealthy that merchant must be!” he thought.

The stone cutter became very envious and wished he could be like the merchant. To his great surprise, he suddenly had his wish fulfilled and did indeed become the merchant, enjoying more luxuries than he had ever imagined, yet he envied and despised those less wealthy than himself.

Soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair accompanied by attendants and escorted by soldiers blowing trumpets. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession. “How powerful that official is!” he thought. “I wish I could be a high official like that.”

Again his wish was granted and he became the high official, carried everywhere in his finely embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by everyone. It was a hot summer day, so the official felt very uncomfortable in his sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun shining proudly in the sky, totally unaffected by the presence of the high official. “How majestic the sun is!” he thought. “I wish I could be the sun!”

Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching fields, cursed by farmers and laborers. But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, blocking his light from everything below. “How mighty that cloud is!” he thought. “I wish I could be a cloud like that.”

And so he became the cloud, raining down and flooding fields and villages as everyone shook their fists and cursed at him. But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized it was the wind. “How peerless the wind is!” he thought. “I wish that I was the wind!”

Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off of roofs, uprooting trees, feared and detested by all. But after a while he ran against something that did not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it. It was a huge towering rock. “How impervious that rock is! I wish I was that rock.”

Then he became the rock, greater than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard a tapping sound and he felt himself being changed. “What could be greater than me?” he wondered. Looking down, far below he saw the figure of a humble stone cutter, pounding at the rock with his hammer and chisel.

A Strong Man

A Strong Man

King Solomon asked a newly arrived craftsman, “Where do you come from?”

“From Tyre, your majesty.”

“Did you meet our Grand Master Hiram Abif there?”

“Yes, your majesty.”

King Solomon pointed to a pile of rough stones and asked, “How does Hiram Abif resemble this?”

The craftsman made no answer. Returning to Tyre, he reported the meeting to King Hiram, who asked, “Did you notice how large the pile was?”

“Immense, your majesty.”

“Then you are a very strong man indeed.”

“How so, your majesty?”

“Because you have carried that immense pile all the way from Jerusalem to me. Only a very strong man could have accomplished such a feat.”

Seven Pounds!

Seven Pounds!

A craftsman asked Peter Gower, “The myriad things return to one. Where does the one return to?”

Peter Gower relpied, “When I was in Egypt, I made a cloth shirt. It weighed seven pounds!”

The Senior Deacon Loses

Grand Master Hiram Abif wished to send a Master Mason to open a new lodge. He told his officers that whoever answered a question most ably would be appointed. Placing a brass compass on the tracing board, he asked, “Who can say what this is without calling its name?”

The Senior Deacon said, “No-one can call it a wooden square.”

Then the Junior Steward walked over and used the compass to inscribe a point within a circle.

Hiram smiled and said, “The Senior Deacon loses.” The Junior Steward was sent to be the Worshipful Master of the new lodge.

Squared Ashlars, Hewn Timbers

A craftsman asked Grand Master Hiram Abif, “Would a Master Mason ever leave the Craft?”

Hiram replied, “Squared ashlars never go back to the quarry, and hewn timbers never return to the forest.”